Jimmy Santiago Baca

(2 January 1952 / Santa Fe, New Mexico)

Ancestor


It was a time when they were afraid of him.
My father, a bare man, a gypsy, a horse
with broken knees no one would shoot.
Then again, he was like the orange tree,
and young women plucked from him sweet fruit.
To meet him, you must be in the right place,
even his sons and daughter, we wondered
where was papa now and what was he doing.
He held the mystique of travelers
that pass your backyard and disappear into the trees.
Then, when you follow, you find nothing,
not a stir, not a twig displaced from its bough.
And then he would appear one night.
Half covered in shadows and half in light,
his voice quiet, absorbing our unspoken thoughts.
When his hands lay on the table at breakfast,
they were hands that had not fixed our crumbling home,
hands that had not taken us into them
and the fingers did not gently rub along our lips.
They were hands of a gypsy that filled our home
with love and safety, for a moment;
with all the shambles of boards and empty stomachs,
they filled us because of the love in them.
Beyond the ordinary love, beyond the coordinated life,
beyond the sponging of broken hearts,
came the untimely word, the fallen smile, the quiet tear,
that made us grow up quick and romantic.
Papa gave us something: when we paused from work,
my sister fourteen years old working the cotton fields,
my brother and I running like deer,
we would pause, because we had a papa no one could catch,
who spoke when he spoke and bragged and drank,
he bragged about us: he did not day we were smart,
nor did he say we were strong and were going to be rich someday.
He said we were good. he held us up to the world for it to see,
three children that were good, who understood love in a quiet way,
who owned nothing but calloused hands and true freedom,
and that is how he made us: he offered us to the wind,
to the mountains, to the skies of autumn and spring.
He said, “Here are my children! Care for them!”
And he left again, going somewhere like a child
with a warrior´s heart, nothing could stop him.
My grandmother would look at him for a long time,
and then she would say nothing.
She chose to remain silent, praying each night,
guiding down like a root in the heart of earth,
clutching sunlight and rains to her ancient breast.
And I am the blossom of many nights.
A threefold blossom: my sister is as she is,
my brother is as he is, and I am as I am.
Through sacred ceremony of living, daily living,
arose three distinct hopes, three loves,
out of the long felt nights and days of yesterday.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
1 person did not like.

What do you think this poem is about?



Read poems about / on: sister, brother, romantic, smart, children, daughter, horse, autumn, running, home, freedom, women, father, spring, work, tree, child, smile, wind, night

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (Ancestor by Jimmy Santiago Baca )

Enter the verification code :

There is no comment submitted by members..

PoemHunter.com Updates

New Poems

  1. 'Did I ever Exist? ', Ananta Madhavan
  2. Keep safe, hasmukh amathalal
  3. Sunshine, Hanh Chau
  4. The Power Of Prayer, Tom Zart
  5. Mini Pool Tournament, RoseAnn V. Shawiak
  6. Tonight And Every Night, Michael McParland
  7. Ongoing Mental De-Evolution, michael walkerjohn
  8. Crossroads Of Destiny, RoseAnn V. Shawiak
  9. Spaces Of Intellect, RoseAnn V. Shawiak
  10. I Know Why Old People Are Sometimes Very.., Shalom Freedman

Poem of the Day

poet Geoffrey Chaucer

Compleyne ne koude, ne might myn herte never,
My peynes halve, ne what torment I have,
Though that I sholde in your presence ben ever,
Myn hertes lady, as wisly he me save
...... Read complete »

   

Member Poem

Trending Poems

  1. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  2. Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
  3. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  4. Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas
  5. If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
  6. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou
  7. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost
  8. Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
  9. Dreams, Langston Hughes
  10. Alone, Maya Angelou

Trending Poets

[Hata Bildir]